Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 5 November 2007

[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list (info@etan.org) have been removed.]

Monday, 5 November 2007

UNMIT – MEDIA MONITORING

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National Media Reports

President Ramos Horta asking for audit of Fretilin Government President José Ramos-Horta has promised to audit the former Fretilin government to find out whether or not corruption existed between 2002 and 2007.

President Ramos-Horta suspects that the burning of the Customs Office was a planned action by Fretilin to burry all the documents of the party’s corruption.

“I do not believe people who were looking for computers burnt customs house,” said the President on Thursday (1/11) in Comoro.

On the other hand, a member of the CNRT party, Aderito Hugo da Costa, has said that there should be an audit of the Fretilin Government. (STL and DN)

Ramos Horta defends the ISF President José Ramos-Horta has strongly defended the action of the International Security Forces (ISF) after an IDP who was shot at the Airport IDP camp last week.

President Ramos-Horta said that ISF and UNPol never act brutally against any people; however if there is action, there will be reaction, he said.

“ISF and UNPol never act without direction. Some members of the IDP camp at the airport and Jardim have acted irresponsibly and used provocation,” said the President.

The IDPs at the airport want the ISF in Timor-Leste to be withdrawn from the country.

However, President Ramos-Horta said that the ISF presence is still needed as long as the institutional reform of the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the Falintil Defence Force of Timor-Leste)(F-FDTL) is ongoing. (TP)

The State believes Singapore should investigate previous Government

President José Ramos-Horta said that the State has decided to have an international audit from Singapore to investigate the work of the previous Government, starting with the former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri all the way to Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva.

President Ramos-Horta said that the investigation should also look into the burning of Customs House as well as corruption and nepotism during Fretilin’s governance.

The President is also asking Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão to be careful with some members of Fretilin who are still in the Alliance government, as they could make the Government collapse. (TP)

Poverty reduction: a program to fulfill the President’s campaign promise The member of the National Parliament from the Democratic Party (PD), Gertrudes Moniz, affirmed that the program of poverty reduction initiated by President José Ramos-Horta is intended to fulfill his Presidential campaign promise during the presidential elections.

Mrs. Moniz said that the program is good; however, it will overlap with other competent ministries.

The National Parliament has suggested the President of the Republic should work within his duties rather than mixing everything randomly. (TP)

Timor-Leste and RI should convene criminal investigation The Director of Judicial System Monitoring Program (JSMP), Timotio de Deus, said that the Government of Timor-Leste and Indonesia has to convene a criminal investigation to find the truth about the border shooting of a civilian of Timor-Leste by the Indonesian military.

“The state of the two nations has to have a deep criminal investigation to identify the cause of shooting,” said Mr. de Deus.

President to visit eastern part of the country

The President José Ramos-Horta will visit Baucau, Viqueque and Lautem districts over the next four days to meet with the population, including Fretilin supporters, to explain his decision of forming an alliance government.

The head of presidential cabinet, Jose M. S. Turquel said that the president is going to convince the people that he is not the president for the western part of the country, but rather, the president of whole of Timor-Leste. (DN)

TL community’s contribution to ISF is important The commander of International Security Forces (ISF), John Hutcheson has said that part of the mission of the ISF is tow work with Timorese communities and the F-FDTL to guarantee stability.

“We have a plan for a technical team from the ISF and the F-FDTL to work together.

By having them cooperate, they will develop an atmosphere of security in the country,” said Mr. Hutcheson. (DN)

International Media Reports

EU concerns about Iraq Major players seek to reduce Turkey-Iraqi border tension Author: Tejinder Singh 4 November 2007 - Issue 754 New Europe

A family picture before the Second Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Iraqi Neighbouring Countries at Ciragan Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, November 3, 2007 ANA/EPA/TOLGA BOZOGLU

East Timor emerged as the evolving nascent democracy just five years ago and Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world is taking significant strides towards democratic reforms. The European People’s Party (EPP), the biggest political group in the European Parliament, the only directly elected European institution hosted in co-operation with the International Republican Institute (IRI) a briefing in Brussels on October 30 by Johanna Kao, IRI Resident Country Director, Indonesia and East Timor on “The dynamic situation in East Timor one year after the elections and five years on from independence as well as the role of powers such as China in influencing developments in the region.”

Speaking to Tejinder Singh on the sidelines of the event, Kao, in a free and frank manner, talked of challenges faced in developing and implementing programmes of good governance in those countries and the rising role of women in political arena.

Kao also expressed an optimistic outlook for cooperation with the EPP in the coming months in its world wide efforts for democracy building. Indonesia has emerged as a model for other Muslim countries undergoing the transition to democracy and, in this field, Kao pointed out that the IRI has been working with the people of Indonesia to advance their country’s democratisation since the fall of the Haji Mohammad Suharto regime in 1998.

During this period there have been the successful implementation of political party programmes in the 2004 national elections while IRI continued to work closely with political parties throughout the nation to help them develop and identify issues for political campaigns, particularly in preparation for direct local elections which began in 2005 and continue on a rolling basis until 2009.

It has been observed on the Indonesian political spectrum that political parties that have participated in IRI trainings increasingly are campaigning on issues that address the concerns of their constituents.

Although less than a decade has passed since Suharto’s fall, Indonesia has made important advances in its democratisation. It is important to note that there have been four peaceful transitions of presidential power and two national elections that were certified as free and fair. Moreover, the people of Indonesia have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to democratisation. On April 5, 2004, 82 percent of Indonesia’s nearly 150 million registered voters participated in the national legislative election, often cited as the most complex single-day election in history. In July 2004, voters were able to participate in the country’s first direct election of their president and vice-president, a milestone for Indonesian democracy. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was elected in a run-off that was held in September 2004, with 76 percent of registered voters participating.

Summing these developments as the milestones like the institutions of democracy, good elections have been held, parliament is in place, smooth changeover in the presidency, the legal court system is functioning, Kao gave credit to Indonesians saying, “All of this has required quite a bit of effort on the part of Indonesians and we can see the process of consolidation of democracy in Indonesia is going very well.”

“One of the things that the President has said this way today Indonesians are in a position to share their experiences which they have learnt, they have learnt a lot of lessons on the way.”

Kao expressed her satisfaction at the way Indonesians were “ready to share with their colleagues in the region or further a field,” and said, “We are very encouraged with the results when we have brought groups to Indonesia its either election administration or looking at how minorities are dealt with within the Indonesian context.” On the subject of terrorism, Kao said, “Polls in Indonesia show that most Indonesians are against the use of violence for any reason so over the long term what Indonesians feel now will continue in the future.” “Violence to achieve anything is what most Indonesians reject,” she stressed.

Turning to the reform process in East Timor, Kao said, “In East Timor it’s not so much of even a reform process. As it gained its independence in 2002 so changes that are happening in East Timor are what we can call are moving along the learning process curve.”

“IRI has worked with political parties since 2002 and until now we are the only NGO to work exclusively with parties over this time period.” Outlining the progress made so far, Kao said, “East Timor has seen a lot of changes: Parties have engaged in elections; Parties have learnt to know what it means to win or lose elections; To realise that losing an election is not the end of the world that there will be future elections,” she said.

Expressing “a great deal of optimism for East Timor,” Kao said these political parties have learnt the hard lesson, “Winning an election comes with a great deal of responsibility. There are promises made and the party in power has to live up to those.” On the efforts to encourage women to come in the forefront of political scenario, Kao said, “With a quota for women in the party lists, there is a reasonable number of women in the parliament but that is not the end of the story. There is need for continued training of the women so that they are able to maximise the opportunities that they do have.”

She added, “IRI is also educating the male political party leaders to the benefit of new perspectives whether it’s from women or from youth and bringing in energies in political parties.”

On the other hand, “building up confidence and competence in women so that they feel that they can take up the positions whether it’s to manage a political party or other things,” is also part of the ongoing process which is helped by the fact, “women already play advisor roles in East Timor and are very active in civil society and so over time hopefully they will move into political leadership as well.” A combination of freedom and responsibility in any democracy gives lessons that eventually everyone needs to learn. Talking of civil society, Kao noted, “Civil society in East Timor has been very robust. NGO groups whether they deal with human rights or health or education or anti-violence issues have been very responsive to the needs of the East Timor.

Playing the role to fill in areas where the government was not able to provide certain services, these civil society organisations have played a very important role in civil education.”

“There is tension between civil society, advocacy organisations on one hand and political parties and legislators on the other side partly because these roles in new democracies are evolving,” she argued. “As people understand the roles they can better play they start to understand how they can work with each other, use each other and relate to each other.” In its training with political parties IRI has “encouraged political parties to actively reach out, to find out what the people in their locality or their district supporters think about certain issues,” she said.

“One of the ways to complement such an outreach is to go through interest or issue groups who are focusing on that.” “For example if it’s an agricultural area we encourage political parties to reach out to NGOs that are dealing with agricultural issues to find out what their perspectives are because NGOs have access to information that the parties do not have the means to access, in that way they can help each other.”

On the other hand, the other groups who can learn how to approach (a political party or a legislature) to make them get achievements on behalf of the group rather than becoming a confrontational equation.” Kao said, “With experience this improves and as more experience they have, better they see how they can be annoying to each other but at the end of the day they can be of help to each other.”

Asked to comment on expectations from the European Union and especially EPP as a political force Kao said, “Part of the reason I am here is to explore the ways in which IRI as an organisation which is focused on building democracy around the world can coordinate and cooperate with other groups that have similar goals and values. Our feeling as an institute is that more players are involved in promoting these issues to provide support. It’s a good thing for the work that we do because every country’s experience of democracy and practice of democracy is different.” Kao stressed, “It’s not one is better or one is worse, just different,” adding, “We can talk to politicians in like East Timor and help them understand that there are different models they can follow but the basic principles remain the same. These are very valuable lessons to share.”

Summing up her visit to Brussels, IRI Resident Country Director for East Timor and Indonesia concluded, “In the meetings we had here have been very helpful, especially for me who is based in the field. Sometimes it becomes very insular when one is in Jakarta and trying to understand what other players are doing.” “It has been Very helpful to hear from European perspective when they look at Asia and what are the things they are concerned about to cooperate on with us,” she said.

Overseas ADF operations cost $842.5m Mark Dodd | November 02, 2007 The Australian

TAXPAYERS stumped up $842.5 million last year to fund Australian Defence Force operations in far-flung Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor.

Australian troops on patrol in southern Iraq, as part of a deployment that cost taxpayers $398.5 million last year.

The most expensive peacekeeping deployment remains Iraq worth $398.5 million, a cost aggravated by increases in personnel for logistics support and for the resident Over watch Battle Group (OBG) deployed in the south of the country.

The 2006-07 budgets initially provided $347.4 million for Iraq but that proved insufficient and an additional $54.8 million allocation was approved, said the Department of Defence in its annual report.

Operation Catalyst, the name given to Australia's military operation in Iraq comprises 1575 Navy, Air Force and Army personnel.

Most are formed around the 515-strong OBG-West based in the southern Iraq province of DhiQar.

If elected, a Rudd Labor government is committed to its (OBG) withdrawal by mid-next year but not the navy, air force or 110-strong Baghdad-based security detachment.

Operations in Afghanistan, form part of an international coalition embroiled in a growing Taliban insurgency and cost $223 million - $20 million less than expected due to delays in the purchase of equipment and the use of more efficient contractors.

Dubbed Operation Slipper, Afghan operations involve a reconstruction task force and a 300-strong Special Forces task group supported by two Chinook twin rotor medium-lift helicopters.

Be warned - the cost of the Afghan operation will more than double next year rising to a projected $575.3 million.

Closer to home, the continuing deployment of 850 troops in East Timor to keep the peace among violently inclined rival political factions cost $191 million about $70 million more than the projected due to the deployment of additional troops and helicopters. Ongoing coastal surveillance operations do not come cheap at $9.3 million while maintaining a small peacekeeping garrison in the troubled Solomon Islands was worth a modest $17.3 million in comparison. Security for the APEC leader’s summit in Sydney cost $2.7 million.

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional (DN) Semanario Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL)

UNMIT MEDIA MONITORING www.unmit.org 


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